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Unprecedented Information is Coming to Consumers, and its Impact on Organic Will be Very Significant 

Shoppers will soon be able to tell which foods are nutritionally superior, thereby influencing their purchasing decisions.

The Massachusetts-based BioNutrient Food Association has a very big vision, and I attended its conference last month to get a closer look at what it is aiming to achieve.

Imagine walking into the produce section of a supermarket and you encounter five types of apples, some organic and some conventional.

Next to each type of apple is a digital display which gives you a nutrient density score. This is not a general score based on that variety of apple but rather a very specific nutrient density score based on, among other things, the soil quality of the farm where that very apple was grown.

As a result, you can make an incredibly informed decision about the apple you are looking at and whether you want to buy it or not.

This is the world that the BioNutrient Food Association envisions, and it has already raised millions of dollars to make this a reality.

“We are using people’s self-interest to enact global change,” said Dan Kittredge, founder of the organization.

The premise behind this approach is that consumers will act in their self-interest and buy the most nutritious food possible.

Farmers will then be financially motivated to grow the most nutritious food possible, and it is expected that these farming methods and soil management techniques will be the ones that most benefit the environment – regenerative agriculture which helps sequester carbon from the environment.

Currently, the BioNutrient Food Association is perfecting its meter that scans food, is in the process of defining what nutrient density means exactly, and is identifying the farming techniques that deliver the most nutritious food. All of the data and intellectual property will be available for any farmer to access and will not be owned by a for-profit corporation.

“We want to give consumers the ability to choose the most nutritious and flavorful food, using economics to be the driver of revitalizing ecosystems and to obviate the need for chemicals. For organic, it will raise the bar for the industry and force organic food companies to focus on results, instead of just the label. It will bring the organic food movement forward to what it was supposed to be,” said Dan Kittredge.

For those of us in the organic industry, this technology brings up two main issues.

First, while the meter will have a much easier use-case for fruits and vegetables, the impact on processed foods, which may contain many different ingredients, is less clear.

Consumers could demand that companies test each ingredient separately (before it is processed) and then disclose these results on their website. Or, some companies may proactively do the testing as a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Second, what happens if the nutrient density scores of more expensive, organic apples are inferior to less expensive, conventionally-grown apples? What kind of negative impact does that have on the organic seal?

While the nutrient density score would not take into account factors such as pesticides or GMOs, it has the potential to make things uncomfortable for some organic producers and the industry as a whole.

However, as Dan Kittredge noted, the BioNutrient Meter is going to raise the bar for what it means to be organic. In turn, it should incentivize farmers to produce more nutritious food, which, it is hoped, will help benefit the planet.

BFA has already raised very significant money to pursue this endeavor, opens its new laboratory on February 1st, and intends to be on the market with its product at the end of 2019.

For any food company who is a reader of Organic Insider, I am happy to make the connection with the BioNutrient Food Association to explore a possible collaboration.

To learn more, here is the BioNutrient Food Association’s strategic plan.


Have a great day!

Max Goldberg, Founder

This Week's News Items

Weekly News Summaries

First Course
Organic Valley

Major Organic Entities Make Plea to USDA in The Washington Post

Organic Valley, Whole Foods, the Organic Trade Association, and numerous other for-profit and non-profit organizations took out a full-page ad in The Washington Post, imploring USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to restore the organic animal welfare standard.

Business Insider

Albertsons O Organics Private Label Brand Surpasses $1 Billion in Revenue

With more than 1,000 USDA certified organic products, O Organics has generated $1 billion in revenues and expects to introduce another 500 organic products in 2018.

The Washington Post

7-Eleven and Other Convenience Stores are Getting the Message -- Go Organic

By Caitlin Dewey

Just as I wrote about in last week's Organic Insider, The Washington Post takes a look at how gas stations and convenience stores, including 7-Eleven, are moving towards organic and healthier options.


An Impending Problem for Grass-Fed Animals -- Less Nutritious Grass

By Alex Smith

As demand for grass-fed beef soars, scientists believe rising carbon dioxide levels in the environment may be to blame for less nutritious grass.

Second Course
Sustainable Pulse

New German Government Would Ban Glyphosate

As part of its plan to form a new coalition within the German government, Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union of Germany has agreed to a complete ban of glyphosate, which would be a massive blow to the Monsanto-Bayer merger.

Pesticide Action Network

Portland, Maine Goes Organic -- Big Time

The City of Portland, Maine has passed an ordinance that is one of the strongest pesticide use reduction policies in the country.

Third Course
Food Business News

Urban Remedy Closes $17M Series B

By Monica Watrous

Organic juice and meal plan company Urban Remedy has closed a $17M round of financing, and Once Upon a Farm's John Foraker has joined its board of directors.

Business Insider

Kroger to Unveil New Digital Display Technology

By Hayley Peterson

By the end of 2018, 200 Kroger stores will have new digital display technology in its aisles, which will give consumers pricing, nutritional and other information.

Food & Wine

Amazon Prime Members Now Get Free Delivery Perks from Whole Foods

By Briana Riddock

Amazon Prime members can now receive free same-day and one-day shipping on Whole Foods products, as well as 2-hour delivery from Prime Now.  


GAIAM to Launch a Line of Organic Supplements

This spring, yoga lifestyle brand GAIAM will launch a line of organic supplements and protein powders called Seed-2-Formula.

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This Week's Quick Hits

Quick Hits

* On Living Maxwell, I wrote about the big impact Foodstirs is having far away from the baking aisle.

* As if you needed another reason to live in Downtown Los Angeles. Erewhon will soon be opening up its fifth location there.   

* Tender Greens will be embarking on a massive East Coast expansion, with 15 locations in NYC and one in Boston.

* Segera Retreat in Kenya will feed you all-organic food while you’re enjoying a safari in that country.

* Drake’s Organic White Rum took home the gold at the 1st Annual Asia International Spirits Competition.

* With cryptocurrency mania (and panic) in full effect, Russian-based BeefCoin has launched an ICO to expand production of organic beef.

* Lastly, please make sure that the USDA hears your voice and that you tell them not to kill the Organic Animal Welfare Standards.

* You can sign the e-petition HERE.

* The deadline to leave a comment is tonight at midnight, so please act quickly.

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